Talk:Scientology/Archive 25

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Steven A. Kent

Steven Kent has been highly criticized by various religious scholars for lack of academic attitude and integrity has been questioned because he has received exorbitant amounts of money to create legal affidavits.

Point of information: The "various religious scholars" epithet is a generality and the actual number cited below is four. The "exhorbitant amounts of money" epithet is another generality and corporate scientology POV. The study tech scholar who started this section misspelled his first name which is "Stephen".--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 20:31, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Kent's own rather shallow studies based as they are almost entirely on the accounts of a small number of hostile ex-members and a very selective choice of citations from the literature. J. Gordon Melton, 1998[1]

Wasn't Melton a paid consultant for the CofS around the time he wrote that comment?--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 00:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
As I said before, it is not up to WP editors to decide on a scholar's standing; it is the scholarly community that decides that. Jayen466 01:35, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
OK, I've gotta come out of my self-imposed exile to reply to this. You just negated WP:RS with that argument. So far, your arguments, while I disagree with them, have come from an understandable perspective. This? Not so much. Wikipedia has guidelines for determining what is and is not a reliable source for a reason. Financially compromised sources (such as scientists paid by oil companies to denounce climate change, or tobacco-funded researchers who discover that tobacco isn't bad for you) are not generally considered reliable for anything but the opinions of their sponsors. If Melton was a consultant for the Church of Scientology at the time he wrote that, it doesn't reflect well on his academic credentials. Quoting WP:RS on scholarly sources: "Academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources when available. However, some scholarly material may be outdated, superseded by more recent research, in competition with alternate theories, or controversial within the relevant field. Reliable non-academic sources may also be used, particularly material from reputable mainstream publications." If Melton was being paid by the Church at the time, I would be concerned that the field of religious scholars (I consider NRM scholars to be way, way too narrow a field to be applicable, since there are like six of them, and Melton's one) might find that controversial. In any event, it really is up to WP editors to determine if a scholar is a reliable source. For a bunch of outsider perspectives, might I suggest bringing Melton to the attention of the reliable sources noticeboard? --GoodDamon 14:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
We are very, very far from the situations you describe. In the case of tobacco scholars and the like, you will find that there is a majority of scientists dismissing their findings and pointing out their apparent conflict of interest. Their works will not enter university curricula. They will not be considered leading scholars in their field. In other words, there will be substantial evidence in reliable sources, authored by authorities in their field, that their research was compromised. This is not the case here.
I believe Kent's complaint against Melton was that Melton signed a document supporting Scientology's efforts to keep its upper level teachings confidential. The above-quoted comments by Melton were in response to that. I believe it's nonsense to claim that he was "a paid consultant for Scientology at the time he wrote that article" (source please, published, not some Internet post). As it happens, Melton's view on a religion's right to keep its esoterica secret was and is shared by the majority of religious scholars, including Wilson, who was generally considered a world authority. Lastly, a scholar widely viewed as having been "bought" by the tobacco industry is not likely to be selected as the author of the Encyclopedia Britannica's article on cigarettes. Melton has authored the article on Scientology, as well as a dozen other such groups, including AUM. If you want to go to RS/N, by all means, let's. But I suggest you bring some reliable sources alleging that Melton's academic standing has been compromised, rather than an ex-cathedra statement likening him to a paid tobacco scholar. Cheers, Jayen466 17:03, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Here is an example of a university syllabus. Required reading on the CofS includes Melton (2000). Introvigne is also in there, as are Dawson and Singer. Here another one, with Dawson and Melton. Here yet another, listing two works by Melton. And so forth.If you tell me you read on an Internet page that the universities have got it all wrong and are part of a big conspiracy, and we shouldn't cite any university scholars, what do you expect me to say to you? Jayen466 17:46, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
You misunderstood me. I didn't mean to imply that the situations directly relate. I presented the tobacco- and oil-paid scientists as examples of the kinds of "scholars" we should definitely dismiss per WP:RS, and was merely disagreeing with your assertion that "it is not up to WP editors to decide on a scholar's standing." The analysis you performed -- tracking down universities that rely on Melton to demonstrate that he may be regarded as a reliable source -- is exactly the kind of thing Wikipedia editors should do in determining how the peers of a given scholar regard his/her work. Frankly, outside of a few universities that use his books in courses on new religious movements (thank you for that, by the way), I still don't know very much about the man or how his work is regarded by the larger world of religious scholarly study, nor do I know how carefully peer-reviewed his work is. --GoodDamon 19:58, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I misunderstood. Further to the above, I've done a comparative study of the frequency of Kent's and Melton's work in university syllabi, which may be of use.
  • Here are .edu-hosted syllabi or course outlines that mention Scientology and refer to "Stephen Kent" or "Steven Kent" or "A. Kent" or "S. Kent": the total is 3.
  • Here are .edu-hosted syllabi or course outlines that mention Scientology and refer to "Gordon Melton" or "J. Melton" or "G. Melton": the total is 11.
  • Here the same for Introvigne: [5]
A number of university syllabi are collected on the website of the American Academy of Religion.
  • Here are those that mention Scientology and Melton: [6]
  • Here are those that mention Scientology and Kent: [7]
I posted this on RS/N the other day:


"If Kent really thinks that experts in “cult” cases should make $11,000 for each 13,000-words document based on their previous works they write, he may be right after all and academic integrity may, in fact, be in serious danger.” Dr. Massimo Introvigne, Director, Center for Studies on New Religions

[2]

And Introvigne is a patent attorney hired by the CofS to testify on their behalf in France? --Fahrenheit451 (talk) 00:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Kent has also contradicted himself stating that Scientology is a religion in a $21,600 affidavit that he made for a case against WISE he states: "intrusion of religious concepts into the workplace" "contained the Scientology religion". How come Kent can't make up his mind stating that Scientology is a religion in one affidavit and is not a religion in another one? It seems to me that his testimony is for sale.[3]

"Kent concludes that Scientology is a religion based mostly on its notions of thetan and of past lives. We applaud Kent's reliance (at least) on mainline scholarship on Scientology in order to come to the conclusion that what others (including persons Kent should know better than any other) have described as mere "treatment" is in fact "a religious practice" ” Dr. Massimo Introvigne, Director, Center for Studies on New Religions

[4]

CofS was Introvigne's client, were they not?--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 00:58, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

"Kent’s essays suffer from methodological flaws so grievous as to call into question the validity and reliability of Kent’s conclusions, especially as the foundation for sound legal or legislative action (with regard to conflicts with new religious movements at either the individual or collective levels). In fact the methodological inadequacies detected are indicative of a prejudice inappropriate to the practice of the social sciences (given the consensus on maintaining at least the regulative ideal of objectivity and value-neutrality)." Dr. Lorne L. Dawson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.

Wasn't Dawson a paid consultant of the CofS around the time he made that comment?--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 00:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

"Kent and his cronies (like hollow-earth enthusiasts, big foot believers, and other advocates of the irrational) have responded [to criticism from the academic community] with ad hominem arguments, convinced that any who would oppose their crackpot theories must be involved in some kind of sinister conspiracy against them….I examined [the] data and concluded that Prof. Kent had, indeed, violated the canons of academic research methodology as well as the ethical standards of mainstream scholarship." Dr. James Lewis, Professor, University of Wisconsin[5]

Did "Dr." Lewis have a PhD at the time he made that comment or was he telling us a tall tale?--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 00:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

The bottom line is that Steven A. Kent is not a reliable source of academic information. Bravehartbear (talk) 02:29, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

So says CESNUR and the Church of Scientology's website? (www.religiousfreedomwatch.org)?? Oh good grief! AndroidCat (talk) 05:17, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
No these are a bunch of religious schoolars making these obsevations CENSUR and religious freedom watch are the ones that are publishing it. Any way what's wrong with CENSUR?

Bravehartbear (talk) 07:05, 28 November 2008 (UTC) Bravehartbear (talk) 07:27, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Bravehartbear, see the related RS/N thread if you haven't noticed it yet. Cheers, Jayen466 17:56, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Bravehartbear, please visit Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway and ask the editors there if they think J. Gordon Melton is a legitimate source of facts about what is a cult, what is a peaceful law-abiding religion, and what is scholarly. Sarcasm aside. Kent is argues Scientology is a cult, not a real religion. So, of course, he wishes to both deny it the rewards of religious-status (tax exemption), and still deny it what he would deny all religious groups (presence/preference in public schools, businesses, government, etc...). Being designated a cult, does not mean organization should be freed of the restrictions of a religious group. --Rob (talk) 08:12, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

You wrote, "Kent [...] argues Scientology is a cult, not a real religion." This actually misrepresents Kent's position as expressed in his paper "Scientology -- Is This a Religion?" In it, Kent appears to me to argue that Scientology is a religion to its adherents, but that it is also a number of other things besides, with only one component of the whole package being religious. Kent's paper contains not a single instance of the word "cult". (Also see Introvigne, "Kent has ... always claimed that Scientology is also, but not exclusively a religion".) Jayen466 23:23, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Both Kent and Dawson are generally recognized as Scholarly sources. That being said, Kent is decried by some as having a few flawed arguments. Although he criticizes Kent's methods as not being comprehensive, Dawson makes an interesting statement about "the world's fastest growing religion"[6]:

The Catholic Church has been the subject of vociferous criticism by hundreds, if not thousands of people for centuries. Yet it would be hard to imagine that any credible historian or social scientist would think to investigate the church by seeking only the views of its critics, while dismissing all of the pronouncements of the church out of hand. What is the difference? The Catholic Church, by virtue of its size and longevity, has a greater measure of legitimacy in our society than the Church of Scientology. It is not, in other words, in the vulnerable position of being a minority.

— Lorne L. Dawson[7]
Later in his footnotes, although once again criticizing Kent's method (read on after this quote, if you wish), he says:

When the RPF was created in 1974, for example, Russel Miller, a well-known critic of Scientology, argued (1987:318-23) that there is strong evidence that Hubbard acted rather impulsively and was emotionally and mentally unbalanced. He seemed to be experiencing some kind of nervous breakdown. As Miller presents matters, the creation of the RPF is but one of a number of "bizarre" behaviors that "indicated that he was losing his facility to distinguish... between fact and fiction" (323). The Church of Scientology may well wish to dispute this account, but Miller is one of Kent's prime sources for information about the origins of the RPF.

— Lorne L. Dawson[8]
Spidern 13:07, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Kent is a significant scholar and commentator on Scientology, there is absolute no question about that. Many scholars disagree with aspects of his arguments, and we should try accurately to reflect the status of scholarly debate, but Kent's voice belongs in the mix we have to mirror. Jayen466 14:31, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
For the context of the quoted comments by James R. Lewis, see the copy on Hein's site [8] which has the whole shebang of the controversy. Jayen466 14:43, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
OK, so we have to address the reality that there is no set Scholastic view of Scientology, that this like everything else is debatable. Bravehartbear (talk) 23:46, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Well said. If people agreed about everything, life would be boring wouldn't it? :) On a more serious note: If anything good has come of the page being locked, at least we've had a chance to determine some good academic sources to be used (the need for something like that was brought up before, but never really addressed). Spidern 16:31, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
I've added a couple more above. One of them is a major, 500-page Oxford University Press publication on Scientology due to come out in February next year. Jayen466 17:53, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm looking forward for that paper. Looks pretty exhaustive. Spidern 19:56, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Forgive me worrying that it's a piece of goo. "Official national census figures indicate that the number of Scientologists grew significantly in Canada". Errr, no, they didn't. The Jedi had far more significant numbers. AndroidCat (talk) 07:11, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Does anybody know the numbers in Canada for any year other than the 2001 census (1,525), to allow for a comparison? Just curious (sorry for going off-topic). --Rob (talk) 08:40, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
1,220 in 1991, 1,525 in 2001. They don't seem to have compiled results for 2006 online yet, but the question is only on the decennial census.[9] (20,000 Jedi in 2001![10]) It's much the same with New Zealand and Australia: Fluctuations with current minor gains, but nothing that could be described as "grew significantly" by an honest researcher. AndroidCat (talk) 16:08, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) For reference, the 1991 and 2001 census figures for the three countries are:

  • NZ increase from 207 to 282 (up to 357 in 2006)
  • AU increase from 1,091 to 2,032 (up to 2,507 in 2006)
  • CA increase from 1,220 to 1,525

(Figures are "admitted" Scientologists, i.e. those who volunteered this info in the census. Sources in Church of Scientology.) Jayen466 18:24, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

In Canada, there are only two data points (1991 was the first year it was asked), so it's hard to assign any real meaning. The small increase could also be explained by low numbers of "admitted" Scientologists in 1991 (during the lead-up to R. v. Church of Scientology of Toronto), followed by strong urging by the organization for members to answer the question in 2001. It's all handwaving until after 2011. The small numbers are also a problem. I could start a NRM of one, convert someone else and my group would have doubled in size, 100% growth .. but it wouldn't be very significant. AndroidCat (talk) 18:49, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Sure, I understand the maths. And I am sure you understand that the Australian figure increased 86% over that ten-year period, and 129% over 15 years. At any rate, the above figures, and the sentence in the website blurb, are not a solid basis to impugn the integrity of a respected researcher. It's very simple: "Dishonest" academics don't get to write book after book for Oxford University Press. Editors cannot make a personal decision here as to which academics they consider "okay" and expect other editors to abide by those assessments. For Wikipedia purposes, it is these academics' peers who make the decision as to who is reliable and who is not. On that basis, Lewis is well in the clear. Jayen466 18:58, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
He's "in the clear" until he publishes book with faulty statistical analysis. A small clump of self-referencing NRM academics is not immune to critiques on their methodology from the world of science outside their tiny little field. AndroidCat (talk) 05:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Here is the wikilink to Stephen Kent's bio: Stephen_A._Kent--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 20:47, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

WP:AE

This is just an FYI on the Arbitration Enforcement thread which is currently open here. Spidern 13:44, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Reorganization proposal

Let's talk a little bit about something happier than what's going on with ArbCom. This article needs to become a true WP:SUMMARY-style article; Scientology as an overall topic is simply too big to fit in one article, and there are too many arguments over which content should and should not go into it. So I propose a top-to-bottom restructuring of this article and related topics, with an emphasis on keeping each sub-topic as partitioned from the other topics as possible, so that proper WP:WEIGHT can be applied to each stand-alone subject instead of the subjects fighting with each other for space. The more detailed information can then go in the appropriate sub-article. Please note that my headings are just preliminary suggestions.

So without further ado, this is my proposed structure for the article as a summary article:

  • Intro - This should itself summarize everything below. It should not be front-loaded with straight across the board duplications of anything.
  • Beliefs and practices (Main article: Scientology beliefs and practices) - An overview of the Scientology belief system's beliefs and practices. The section in the main article should focus on what Scientologists purport to believe, although it should limit itself to reliable secondary sources and avoid any use of Hubbard's own books and writings for citations. It should not go into any great depth about ARC, KRC, Dianetics, or any of the more controversial practices such as anti-psychiatry. An overview of each is quite enough.
  • Xenu/OT-I:OT-VIII subsection (Main articles: Xenu, Galactic Confederacy, Operating Thetan etc.) - As it is highly notable and the source of considerable press about Scientology, there should be a brief overview of the hidden doctrines of Scientology. There should absolutely not be an excessive focus on detail for a summary-style article, and I say this because it's going to be a massive troll and critic attractor. Everything that goes in this subsection should be weighed very carefully to be sure it's pertinent enough to go in the main article, and isn't just a particularly juicy, "fun" detail.
  • History (Main article: Timeline of Scientology, perhaps a new history article?) - A brief overview of the history of Scientology. The history of any belief system should mention -- briefly -- the founding of its primary supporting organization, notable events (such as when Scientology became a religion), notable historical controversies, etc.
  • Organizations (Main article: Church of Scientology) - An overview of the organizations that support Scientology, with most of the emphasis being on the Church as the primary topic.
  • Hierarchy subsection (Main articles: Church of Spiritual Technology, Religious Technology Center, etc.) - A brief rundown of the interconnecting parts that comprise the organizational whole associated with Scientology. Focus should mostly be on how they all interrelated, with details about each specific organization left to the sub-articles.
  • Splinter groups subsection (Main article: Free Zone (Scientology)) - An overview of the groups that reject the Church and the interconnecting organizations.
  • Controversial and criminal behavior (Main articles: Operation Freakout, Operation Snow White, Fair Game (Scientology), etc.) - An overview -- and please, don't go into excessive detail -- about the more notorious criminal cases and policies of the Church of Scientology. This should not be a huge section; more detail is most appropriate in the Church of Scientology article and the sub-articles for each specific topic. Of all sections, this one has the greatest danger of becoming the largest and most overpowering one out of a desire by critics to stack every news story or detail into it. Please stick only to the biggest and most well-known/notable topics here. There should be subsections on:
  • Notable criminal cases
  • Controversial policies (such as Fair Game)
  • Anti-psychiatry
  • Scientology as a business (Main article: Scientology as a business) - An overview of the Scientology's status in various countries, and in various components, as a business instead of a religion.

This is just a template, which I am happy to see adjusted and altered. Let's get this thing organized. Thoughts? --GoodDamon 18:50, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

I fully agree with you (as stated earlier) that this article needs to follow Summary Style. I think the organization you have listed about looks reasonable. DigitalC (talk) 04:17, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I think this looks very sensible on the whole. Which section should summarise "Scientology as a state-recognized religion" – "History" or "Scientology as a Business"? Jayen466 06:20, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Careful on the "state-recognized religion" point. In most countries where scientology cloaks itself as a religion, there is no official recognition "as a religion". For example, in the U.S. the scientology group of companies have tax-exempt status, but under the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, no governmental entity may proclaim what is or is not a religion. --Fahrenheit451 (talk) 19:50, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Whoops, knew I'd forgotten something. Let's see... Separate section? Both Business and Religion incorporated into History? I'm open to suggestions. --GoodDamon 15:30, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
There are three circumstances that have a bearing on the matter as far as the US are concerned: (1) a letter that was sent to foreign governments 15 years ago, clearly referring to Scientology as a religion (2) the fact that following the IRS decision, the US State Department's Religious Freedom Reports began to comment on the treatment of Scientologists in various countries (3) that numerous pages on US government websites refer to Scientology as a religion (4) that numerous reliable sources, e.g. [11], explicitly refer to recognition as a religion in the US. As for other countries, a number of them do have an official register of religions to which Scientology has been added (eg Spain and Sweden). In Australia, a Supreme Court decision 25 years ago officially pronounced Scientology a religion, overturning an earlier decision to the contrary. In Italy, too, the Supreme Court affirmed Scientology's religious status. Jayen466 20:04, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Since the issue is a complicated one (and frankly made more so by the fact that parts of Scientology are specifically pushed for secular use) any section about Scientology as a religion should stick to the countries that have a comparatively large Scientology presence and give an overview of that country's legal recognition (or lack thereof) of Scientology's religious status. I'm thinking three or four countries, tops, with countries that have a minimal Scientology presence detailed in a sub-article. --GoodDamon 20:18, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
We should really stick to secondary sources on this material as well. DigitalC (talk) 03:10, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Sure thang. Sources are available for these countries, just didn't bother typing them in here. Jayen466 04:01, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I think we should mention Australia, since it was one of the first countries to recognise it, and the court's findings proved influential in the English-speaking world, as well as the States, obviously. Spain and Italy could be mentioned in passing. Germany and France are key nations on the other side of the debate. There was also an important case involving Russia at the European Court of Human Rights. Jayen466 00:35, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Please note that I object to the phrasing "where Scientology cloaks itself as a religion". Jayen466 20:16, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I acknowledge your objection, however, my statements about religious cloaking are accurate and factual. Please see Larry Brennan's affidavit here:[12]--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 03:59, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Don't be daft, x number of courts have taken a different view. And it's insulting to an individual scientologist who sincerely views it as his religion. But thanks for acknowleding my objection, anyway. I likewise acknowledge that you have your convictions. Cheers, Jayen466 04:07, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I asked you to look at an affidavit, and your response is to tell me not to be daft. Did you even read the affidavit? Brennan even testified to a governmental body in Hamburg, Germany not too long ago.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 04:20, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
The affidavit is not good it doesn't have a signature or a court seal, anyway is just a POV, it is up to the court to determine the facts and like Jayen said: "x number of courts have taken a different view." And that's a fact. Bravehartbear (talk) 23:14, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree. Fahrenheit451, could you please tone down the rhetoric? --GoodDamon 20:18, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Not rhetoric, my friend, fact than I can personally confirm.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 04:01, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the proposed reorganization proposal, right now this article is very anarchal --Zaharous (talk) 00:41, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the re-org. Bravehartbear (talk) 13:54, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Editprotected request

{{Editprotected}}

<ref>[http://www.whyaretheydead.net/krasel/aff_at.html Affidavit of Andre Tabayoyon], 5 March 1994, in ''Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman and Uwe Geertz'', contradicted in [http://www.freewebtown.com/luana/11apr94-mudslide.pdf sworn declaration of staffer James Hall], 11 April 1994</ref>

The two hyperlinks in the above text should both be removed from the article. Requesting another administrator do this. Thank you, Cirt (talk) 01:39, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. The sworn Declaration is here now[13] but I don't know if it can stay there. Some Admin please check this out. If ok, we could exchange the above link with this. Shutterbug (talk) 04:53, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
 Done Ruslik (talk) 09:11, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Scientology not Church of Scientology

I'm making this comment because by reading the article about Scientology one may assume that Scientology and the Church of Scientology are the same thing. There are many people including myself that have left the Church of Scientology because -in short- they don't believe that L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology is taught and applied in the Church of Scientology.

To be fair, things that pertain to the Church of Scientology should be moved to a separate Wikipedia section. And the Church may be mentioned along with the other splinter groups that are mentioned in the Scientology page. Illusionist1 (talk) 23:32, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

The church is by far the largest organization in the world promoting Scientology (or a version of it, if you prefer), so any article that gives an overview of Scientology is necessarily going to touch on the church more than the splinter groups. Remember, this article isn't just about the Scientology belief system (that would be Scientology beliefs and practices), it's also about the scandals surrounding Scientology, the reactions of governments and other religions to it, etc. It's a summary style article that provides a bird's-eye-view of a lot of topics. --GoodDamon 23:57, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
This article is about the overall organization of Scientology (of which the Church of Scientology is only a part) as well as the belief system of Scientology. AndroidCat (talk) 05:53, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

More Scientology hystory

The last sentence is incorrect IAW CNN [9]

the Church of Scientology consequently bought the Cult Awareness Network in bankruptcy court, and now operates it as a promotional arm for the Church of Scientology itself

CAN was purchased by a Scientologists not the CoS and "now operates it as a promotional arm for the Church of Scientology" is pure opinion. The other references for this sentence are not reliable neither. Bravehartbear (talk) 02:49, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, not accurate. Scientologist Steven L. Hayes bought CAN's "logo and other appurtenances", Scientologist Gary Beeny got CAN files, and operations of CAN was turned over to "Scientology-backed group, the Foundation for Religious Freedom," as reported in Ron Russell's "Scientology Revenge." Raymond Hill (talk) 04:31, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Also, as I said before, the characterization of the New CAN as a "promotional arm for the Church of Scientology" is contradicted by more recent academic sources. See [14] (James R. Lewis, 2005), [15] (Anson Shupe, 2006). These opinions should be given due weight as per WP:RS#Scholarship: (1), they are more up to date, (2), these are scholarly sources. Jayen466 13:34, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
We really, really need to be careful here. James R. Lewis is one of only a few self-identified scholars of new religious movements, and as far as I can find is largely regarded as a cult apologist in the much wider field of religious academia. We should not be limiting ourselves to religious scholarship by this small group of individuals. A lot of religious scholars have written about Scientology -- and about CAN -- and picking Mr. Lewis as a source, considering the controversies around him (and for that matter, around Anson Shupe; he's got a similar reputation), seems unlikely to result in a balanced article. Why not track down noted scholars in the wider religious field and use them as sources instead? --GoodDamon 14:47, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
That's plain bollocks: Not even Benjamin Zablocki, Stephen A. Kent and the like employ the term "cult apologist" and Lewis is considered one of the few (there are maybe about 50-100 scholarly sources on SCN) scholarly experts on Scientology. Just because some ant-cult crusaders try to smear anybody, who does not express their, I say it mildly, "point of view", does not mean that we cannot draw on academically published sources. Fossa?! 15:08, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I didn't say Kent or Zablocki use the term. I was using the term as a general descriptor, after reading about Mr. Lewis here on Wikipedia and in a few news articles. Kent and Zablocki would be two examples of religious scholars who don't hold Mr. Lewis in high regard, but the term was my own. --GoodDamon 16:50, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Mr Lewis does not have a crystal ball, and frankly, looking at the world's history of minorities accused of crimes, I would prefer someone who once in a while errs in favour of the minority to someone who generally assumes guilt and errs in that. This is consistent with the fundamental principle of our legal system: innocent until proven guilty; better to let one murderer go free than to execute one innocent man. I don't believe Lewis claimed AUM were innocent once there was conclusive evidence to tie them to the attacks. Again: it is the scholarly community that determines an author's standing. It is absolutely ludicrous if people here argue that an academic who has won prizes for his work, whose works are required reading in university syllabuses, and who is published by the most prestigious university press in the world should not be a reliable source worth citing. I shall bring this up in the arbitration; I have no desire to argue such basic points time and time again. "I don't know about Oxford University Press and Routledge, they may be cult apologists, but Operation Clambake has a very interesting essay here from an ex-scientologist ..." There comes a point when such contributions become actual disruptive editing and should be treated as such. Jayen466 17:25, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
GoodDamon, note that I am not accusing you of citing Clambake essays. I know you don't do that. But I am sure if we watch this talk page for a couple of weeks, someone will come along ... Cheers, Jayen466 17:31, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, I was about to respond to that rather vehemently, and I appreciate you taking note of it. I'm happy to concede the point on James R. Lewis' academic credentials after digging through how much he has published in more detail. I have to admit to some personal qualms about him; he routinely accepts money from the groups he writes about. But that's not for me to judge him on, certainly not in Wikipedia. I'm of a mind to ask at WP:RS/N, just to have some outside perspectives on him. --GoodDamon 17:49, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
With all due respect, I would suggest that you haven't got a clue what you are talking about, GoodDamon. James R. Lewis is the editor of an upcoming Oxford University Press volume on Scientology. Oxford University Press is not a fringe publishing outfit. I believe they pick and choose their authors quite carefully. Check how many University Press publications and peer-reviewed papers the guys who call Lewis a "cult apologist" have to their credit. Jayen466 15:33, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
No, Oxford University Press is not a fringe publishing outfit, but you can't cherry-pick with them, either. They also publish works by Richard Dawkins, certainly a notable scholar and scientist. Care to take a look at how this extremely notable, scholarly source describes Scientology? OUP publishes works from all sorts of perspectives. --GoodDamon 16:50, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
If you care to look in which fields Dawkins has been published by OUP, you will find that the fields concerned are biology and science writing. James R. Lewis may have opinions on genetics; that does not make him a RS in our article on it, even though he is published by Oxford University Press. Cheers, Jayen466 17:28, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough, although I would argue that Dawkins is well on his way to establishing himself as a contrarian religious scholar himself. --GoodDamon 17:49, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
More like he has already established himself as an anti-religious quack, see also http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html which summarizes Dawkins "accomplishments" in this field as entertaining as correct. Fossa?! 18:12, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
This is a typical mistake, the tying of a reputation to a person, rather than to a type of source. Has this not (yet) been rectified in WP:RS? Dawkins has not (and, I take I wild guess) will never publish anything reputable about Scientology, but he did AFAIK on population genetics. Fossa?! 18:10, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Time did a massive expose on CAN and how scientology literally came up with an organized strategy to bankrupt it and then buy it and use it for thier own purposes. Think of it this way, If I want to sell something that is considerd ilegal but it sells really well I could just buy out the org that decides weather or not this thing I want to sell is ilegal. Boom Motive and you got opertunity, resulting from direct contact with scientology no less. It's really obvious and if that is not enough many scholars and the guy in time as well refer to CAN as a part of scientology now. 67.84.159.28 (talk) 15:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
The Time article is more than ten years old, right? I do not think what some reporter 10 years ago thought was going to happen is more reliable than what scholars have observed happening over the past 10 years. Btw, neither Lewis nor Shupe deny that Scientologists have a major role in running the New CAN. They are merely commenting on what the New CAN is actually doing. Jayen466 16:13, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Meta-issue: Court documents and reliable sourcing

This would be as good a time as any to open the issue of court documents. Court documents are primary materials that, like all primary materials, may be used in accordance with WP:PRIMARY. That policy is very general and the proper use of primary materials in specific instances will always be a topic for discussion. There is, however, a meta-issue that I would like to discuss. I will try to state it below, feel free to amend it toward a better statement. --Justallofthem (talk) 18:06, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Statement of issue

These are many court documents related to Scientology. For the our purposes and with reference to WP:PRIMARY these may be divided into three rough categories.

  1. Court documents that have been published in whole or in part in secondary sources.
  2. Court documents that have been specifically referenced in secondary sources but not published verbatim.
  3. Court documents that have not been specifically referenced in secondary sources.
Issue 1

The proper place of these three categories is the first issue to be addressed here.

Once we have decided that we might want to use a court document as a source, the question comes up as to how, exactly, do we access this document. In the past, I believe that I can say with confidence, editors have used so-called "courtesy copies" hosted on POV sites critical of Scientology. This practice is currently under the spotlight after editors objected to an affidavit hosted similarly but on a Scientology-sympathetic site. That instance is a good example of the problem that we need to solve. The so-called "Ronald DeWolf retraction affidavit" is referenced in a number of secondary materials critical of Scientology. The only place I found it online was on the scientologymyths.info site, here, and an associated archive site. As the document is referenced in multiple places it might be appropriate to quote relevant parts of it if we can agree on the suitability of the sourcing.

Issue 2

The second issue to be addressed here is what would constitute an acceptable "true copy" of a court document for use here.

Comment by Justallofthem

On the first issue, use of the last would seem to violate the text and spirit of WP:PRIMARY, i.e. the "affidavit of Joe Blow in the case of Suzie Que vs. the Church of Scientology" would have no place in Wikipedia if that specific document has not at least been referenced in a secondary source. We are not in the position to judge the merit, relative importance, or credibility of a document such as that. I will withhold my comments on the second issue for now as I want to hear what others have to say. --Justallofthem (talk) 18:06, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Comment by Fahrenheit451

Justallofthem, I note that you refer to affidavit "courtesy copies" "hosted on POV sites critical of Scientology", but on the other hand you refer to an affidavit "hosted similarly but on a Scientology-sympathetic site", and not refering to that affidavit as a courtesy copy or the scientology sympathetic site as "POV". You are clearly treating each situation in accordance with your own POV and not impartially.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 07:46, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Please word-clear "similarly". --Justallofthem (talk) 12:41, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Please strive to keep your POV out of this discussion.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 00:22, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Why, should we only allow your POV? I quote: You are clearly treating each situation in accordance with your own POV and not impartially' Snort. --Justallofthem (talk) 04:33, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Again, please keep your POV out of this discussion. No snort.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 05:27, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Why do you always want to waste time with this off-topic sniping? --Justallofthem (talk) 12:31, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
The sniping seems to be coming from you here. I made a comment and you replied with an snide "Please word-clear "similarly". I attempted to put the discussion back on track and you replied with another snide remark. You may be talking about yourself.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 06:13, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Comment by Jayen466

I agree that we should not use court documents that are not referred to in secondary sources – it is original research to do so. We should reflect the current published secondary sources. Jayen466 13:34, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Comment by Bravehartbear

Court Documents should only be used as a reference for a secundary source and never as a primary source. I don't have have problem with judgements but affidavits are only a POV. I'm very concern this will be just a used as a POV pushing tool. Also a official court document requires a signature and a court seal. Bravehartbear (talk) 18:24, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Comment by Proximodiz

Court documents could be useful to back up date information (like the incorporation date of the first Church of Scientology) but they cannot be hosted on private sites. I think such documents should be uploaded to Wikisource and scrutinized for validity before they can be used as a reference. Case in point, the links for following reference "Church of American Science' (incorporation papers); 'Church of Scientology' (incorporation papers); 'Church of Spiritual Engineering,' (incorporation papers); 18 December 1953." should be removed. Proximodiz (talk) 04:31, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

WP:UNDUE, WP:RS issues in Celebrities section

I have a big problem with the last paragraph of the article, starting with the words "Andre Tabayoyon, a former Scientologist". The whole paragraph is WP:UNDUE and trivia. "Ploughing meadows." Please!! In addition, almost all of it is cited to a primary source (an affidavit) hosted on an attack site (whyaretheydead.net). How do we know the affidavit has been correctly represented on this extremely POV site? Even conceding that it "probably" is, why are we mentioning it in the main article on Scientoloy without any evidence having been supplied that this is an issue that published secondary sources consider a major aspect of Scientology, important enough to be mentioned in our main article on it? Jayen466 13:58, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. Secondary sources need to be found, or it goes. Except in rare, carefully considered situations, we shouldn't be citing anything but reliable news and scholarly sources. I have yet to see an argument that Xenu.net or whyaretheydead.net pass muster as scholarly sources. Neither belong in any section of this article except perhaps under the External Links section. --GoodDamon 14:40, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
They are against Scientology, thus they must be solidly valid sources. Heck, the National Enquirer would become a reputable source, if he were to publish an article on Scientology's attempts to clone Hitler funded by E.T.'s in the North Korean government. Fossa?! 14:59, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I am not entirly sure that scientology would want to clone hitler, I mean they were nazis in the past but now they are beyond that stage. I understand your humour and your frustration but what alot of us need to keep in mind is the colossal importance this article hold to it, not just with recent even like the protests but that this article is under scrutiny unlike most others in the cateogory of religion. Xenu.net and whyweprotest.net both has original sources (actual leaked scientology documents) that for obvious reasons can not be used here until they appear in a court case or are referenced on the news or some other secondary source. however it is still in my opinion a great idea to keep your eyes on both the sources you CAN use and the source you wish you could use but can't because very soon these two things will be one and the same. The media is really trotting along with this at a fearsomly brisk pace and soon alot of the stuff about the clave camps and the child labour will be in secondary sources and even then third sources.67.84.159.28 (talk) 15:52, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Fine, let us also keep our eyes on sources we can use: [16][17] Jayen466 16:32, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

well, for a supposed cult (and this coming from someone who pretty much despises scientology - but truth be told) they 've pretty much let you do whatever you want with their entry here, I mean the quality of the sources and the gossipy tone of this part is not something we usually see at wikipedia. Had they been this superevil cult I am sure they 'd find some way to cencor you guys here, pretty ironic really. 91.132.224.196 (talk) 12:05, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Scientology History

I have big problems with the last sentences of the 4th paragraph:

Mr. Miscavige, the highest-ranking Scientology leader, walked in to see Fred T. Goldberg Jr., the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service at the time, without an appointment. He was later seen and allegedly offered to halt the lawsuits Scientology had against the IRS in exchange for tax exempt status. To this end, Goldberg allegedly ordered tax analysts to ignore multiple court precedents and other substantive issues during the review of the decision.}

Since when Wikipedia uses the word allegedly? Who alleged what? The official statement from IRS officials is:

While I.R.S. officials insisted that Scientology's tactics had not affected the decision, some officials acknowledged that ruling against the church would have prolonged a fight that had consumed extensive Government resources and exposed officials to personal lawsuits. At one time, the church and its members had more than 50 suits pending against the I.R.S. and its officials.

"Ultimately the decision was made on a legal basis," said a senior I.R.S. official who was involved in the case and spoke on the condition that he not be identified. "I'm not saying Scientology wasn't taking up a lot of resources, but the decision was made on a legal basis."

"In interviews, senior Scientology officials and the I.R.S. denied that the church's aggressive tactics had any effect on the agency's decision. They said the ruling was based on a two-year inquiry and voluminous documents that showed the church was qualified for the exemptions.

Metting betwen Miscavige and Goldberg was private to the only references to this meeting are from the CoS and state that it was done to resolve the dispute. What was offered or not is pure speculation. Afther the metting Goldberg set up a committee to resolve this issue.

When the committee determined that all Scientology entities should be exempt from taxes, I.R.S. tax analysts were ordered to ignore the substantive issues in reviewing the decision, according to I.R.S. memorandums and court files.

Mr. Schoenfeld, the negotiations chairman, ordered the two tax analysts assigned to the review not to consider any substantive matters, according to I.R.S. memorandums and records in the Tax Analysts case. Those issues, Mr. Schoenfeld informed them, had been resolved.

The tax analysts were ordered to ignore multiple court precedents and other substantive issues during the review of the decision because this issues were already resolved by the commitee.

So lets stick to the facts and ignore opinions or allegations. The facts are these:

  1. The tax exempt status was granded and then removed on the basis that it profited Hubbard.
  2. The CoS responded by making it dificult for the IRS.
  3. DM and Goldberg meet.
  4. Goldberg set up a committee to resolve this issue.
  5. The committee determined that all Scientology entities should be exempt from taxes.
  6. The ruling was based on a two-year inquiry and voluminous documents that showed the church was qualified for the exemptions. The IRS stated the pressure by CoS was not a factor.
  7. Two tax analysts were assigned to do a review and finish the settlement. They were ordered not to consider any substantive matters because these issues were already resolved.

ref: [10]

PS all the above quotes are from the same NY Times article. Humbly Bravehartbear (talk) 02:30, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

The New York Times article says:

Among the findings of the review by The Times, based on more than 30 interviews and thousands of pages of public and internal church records, were these:

  • ...
  • The decision to negotiate with the church came after Fred T. Goldberg Jr., the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service at the time, had an unusual meeting with Mr. Miscavige in 1991. Scientology's own version of what occurred offers a remarkable account of how the church leader walked into I.R.S. headquarters without an appointment and got in to see Mr. Goldberg, the nation's top tax official. Mr. Miscavige offered to call a halt to Scientology's suits against the I.R.S. in exchange for tax exemptions.
There is the official statement of the IRS, which must be stated as such in the article, but there are also the findings of the New York Times, which we must present as well in the article. Maybe "allegedly" is not a good word, I don't know. How about "The New York Times found..." or "The New York Times determined..." Raymond Hill (talk) 04:16, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

I concur with Bravehartbear. We are giving the NYT "findings" full weight, while ignoring the official IRS statements, which in part address these concerns. Jayen466 13:50, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, WP:RS states:

News reporting is distinct from opinion pieces. Opinion pieces are only reliable for statements as to the opinion of their authors... Opinion pieces are also distinguished between those representing the opinion of the news organization's editorial board and those representing the opinion of one author (or a few co-authors.)

What I see is that the first part of the article in question where the autor gives his conclusions are based on the author's opinion that is contracdicted by the facts that he is presenting. What I see is that this article is a mixture of opinion and facts. We must separate the opinions out and stick with the facts. The facts are the only valueable part of this article. Bravehartbear (talk) 04:27, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Do you have a link or source to that "The official statement from IRS officials"? AndroidCat (talk) 07:25, 18 December 2008 (UTC) Puzzling Journey, right? (Best not to use ref links in Talk pages.) I'll review it. AndroidCat (talk) 07:29, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
The person who alleged the impromptu meeting took place was none other David Miscavige himself in a presentation to members, followed by Church of Scientology publications. Later, after the leak, contradictory statements were issued by Church of Scientology officials saying the meeting never took place. It seems that the problem with reliability lies with Scientology and David Miscavige. AndroidCat (talk) 11:41, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Sorry I was not talking about the meeting but other conclusions that NY Times stated like what took place in the meeting when this meeting was private, I never argued there was a meeting. Bravehartbear (talk) 16:18, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like the original Scientology article featured an impressive amount of spin. :-) Without actually saying so, it certainly creates the impression that Mr Miscavige was taken to see the IRS man right away. A good example of why we shouldn't use Scientology's primary sources either. Jayen466 13:01, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, the New York Times thought they could trust the statement of David Miscavige, backed by official Scientology publications, about an otherwise mysterious confidential deal, and since the IRS and Fred Goldberg won't confirm or deny either of Scientology's accounts of the meeting, *shrug*. Normally Scientology sources are at least RS about what is said by Scientology. AndroidCat (talk) 13:28, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
I think the most likely explanation is that, for internal consumption and morale-boosting, the Scientology journalists thought it would be cool to present it as though Mr Miscavige had just walked in, Wild West-style, and was seen right away. It obviously would have been less rousing to report that he called at the desk, politely asked for an appointment, and was seen a month later – so they glossed over that part. It is the same with Freedom magazine and other Scientology sources – it is certain that some of it is true, and some of it is spin, but it is often hard to tell where truth ends and spin begins. Of course, some of the Scientology critics are even worse.
Looking at the original New York Times article that we cite, they actually attributed it: "cientology's own version of what occurred offers a remarkable account of how the church leader walked into I.R.S. headquarters without an appointment and got in to see Mr. Goldberg, the nation's top tax official. Mr. Miscavige offered to call a halt to Scientology's suits against the I.R.S. in exchange for tax exemptions."
We probably shouldn't be confidently asserting in our article that Miscavige walked in without an appointment and saw Goldberg. At the moment we say: "In 1991, Mr. Miscavige, the highest-ranking Scientology leader, walked in to see Fred T. Goldberg Jr., the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service at the time, without an appointment.[29] He was later seen and allegedly offered to halt the lawsuits Scientology had against the IRS in exchange for tax exempt status. To this end, Goldberg allegedly ordered tax analysts to ignore multiple court precedents and other substantive issues during the review of the decision.[29]" Suggestions? Jayen466 15:18, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Then we would be confidently asserting Scientology's second claim that no such immediate meeting occurred. :) I believe that Scientology writers were only repeating what had been said by Miscavige or possibly Rathbun at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, October 1993, but I don't have a cite for that. AndroidCat (talk) 15:40, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the sources. Well, even the International Scientology News, as quoted by the NYT article you linked above, did not explicitly claim there was an immediate meeting, whereas the Church was definite and unequivocal in 1997 that there wasn't an immediate meeting. The ISN article is dated by the NYT to 1994, i.e. some time after the announcement of the "end of the war". I am sure if you read British reminiscences about the road to VE day from 1946, there will be some glossing over and embellishments too. Jayen466 16:01, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Does anyone happen to have the text of the Scientology advertisement rebutting the NYT article? Has it been commented on anywhere? Jayen466 16:04, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
It has been commented on, as well as Miscavige's IAS speech, 8 October 1993. (A partial version was printed in issue 32 of International Scientology News.) Wayback has some of the hatewatch.freedommag.org site Tsk, it's all very entangled. AndroidCat (talk) 18:51, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, Mr Miscavige too never actually says he met them on that day. But the way he doesn't say it in his victory speech I am sure everyone in the audience pictured him having had the meeting that day. It made a good story. Jayen466 22:11, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

(dedent)

"In October of 1991, while this war was raging at its apex, Marty Rathbun and I were in Washington DC. to attend one of these court hearings I mentioned. It was to be the next day. We had just finished a lunch meeting and our next appointment wasn't for a couple of hours. In other words - we had some spare time on our hands. That's not something we're accustomed to, so - we thought at last we could create a bit of mischief. We told the lawyers we'd see them in an hour or so and that we would be down at the IRS building. Of course they had a good chuckle as we left the room. Off we proceeded to 1111 Constitution Avenue - which if you didn't know is the address of the national headquarters of the IRS. We presented ourselves to security at the front door, signed the visitors log and informed them we were there to see Fred. They asked - Fred who? We answered, Fred Goldberg of course, the Commissioner of the IRS. "Is he expecting you"" they asked. "No", was our response. "but if you phone him on the intercom and tell him we are from the Church of Scientology, I am sure he'd love to see us." Have you ever wondered whether we were really impinging, when we have spoken of the IRS at previous events? Well - if so - shame on you.

"We did meet with the commissioner, and, as the saying goes - the rest is history."

It does make a good story, but didn't someone FOIA-request the visitors' log, which showed no visit? Strange. AndroidCat (talk) 22:38, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, Rathbun said they met one month later. I think that is more likely to have been the truth. Agreed? Jayen466 23:29, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Irrelevant. What anyone thinks is more likely to be the truth would be OR unless a WP:RS. (Personally I doubt any of the versions of the Tale of the IRS Meeting are completely true. So what?) AndroidCat (talk) 04:58, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Scientology/ Auditing

{{editprotected}} On the Scientology page, under Auditing, there is a request for "citation needed" after the statement: "In Scientology it is considered a high crime to audit people who..."

The citation needed is:

Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter of 6 December 1976RB, revised 8 April 1988: Illegal PCs, Acceptance of, High Crime PL.

In the same section, the third paragraph that reads "...are members or ex-members" should end in or. Like this;

"...are members or ex-members or"

(JDPhD (talk) 20:37, 20 December 2008 (UTC))

 Done.  Sandstein  21:21, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Brilliant, now we have one more primary source in the article. Jayen466 21:43, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Have to agree, this is not an improvement unless we're allowing Hubbard's policy letters as sources, and I'd like to see a solid argument why we should make a WP:PRIMARY exception for these. I'd just as soon avoid anything written by Hubbard directly in favor of independent analysis. --GoodDamon 02:14, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Reference link dead

The link to an article entitled "Scientology church’s mark inscribed in N.M. desert scrub" at http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/35633.html is dead, as is the www.freenewmexican.com domain. I did some cursory searching for pages with photos, etc., and I suggest it be replaced with this story by the same author: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/26/AR2005112601065.html . Njm0 (talk) 03:25, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The link is good, but even Leiby describes the quoted paragraph as an "intriguing theory". (He says, "Perhaps the signs are just a proud expression of the Scientology brand. But there are other, more intriguing theories. Former Scientologists ...") It is not our job here to air intriguing theories put out by former members, especially since the reliability of former members' statements has been a subject of considerable scholarly debate. I doubt it is due weight to present this in the way we are here, in the main article on Scientology. Anyone aware of other sources discussing the site? Other views? Jayen466 11:04, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay. I think the phrasing in the current version of the article, i.e. quoting the newspaper story which itself describes where the explanation comes from, is fine. Njm0 (talk) 17:05, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I am afraid I disagree with the whole presentation of material in this section, which amounts to "look at how silly these people are, believing in extraterrestrial reincarnation", etc. Are you aware how easy it is to write such a section for any mainstream religion? And what do we have here -- an entirely unsourced paragraph, followed by statements sourced to Rolling Stone magazine, LA Times, Washington Post etc, and the ubiquitous xenu.net effort. Not a scholarly source in sight for what is quite a sensitive theological subject. Does anybody think Encyclopedia Britannica or Encyclopedia Publishers like Gale would write and source this way?
What do you think of the following – sourced – description of Christianity, also based on testimony of a prominent apostate?

People born into Christianity are told to believe that non-Christians are doomed to boil in molten sulfur if they do not accept the "merciful" Christian deity, and that they are thus damned even if they have never even heard of the Christian God!

From the descriptions given to followers, the Christian deity suffers from many serious defects that followers are told to avoid. He/it is capricious, insecure, jealous, vindictive, sadistic, and cruel, and demands constant praise, sacrifice, adulation, and ego-support: otherwise, penalties for followers can be very severe. Followers are very fearful, always wondering if they have committed any infractions of the multitude of rules they have to follow. They are ruled by fear.

Followers are expected to believe the most incredible stories. For example that some 2,000 years ago a mid-East virgin was impregnated by a ghost of some sort, and as a result produced a son who could walk on water, raise the dead, turn water into wine, and multiply loaves of bread and fishes. All that in addition to tossing out demons. He expected and accepted a brutal, sadistic, death — and then he rose from the dead. That is not all. Adam and Eve, adherents are told, were the original humans, plunked down in a garden to start our species going. Followers are asked to believe that Adam and Eve had only two children, both sons — and one of them killed the other — yet somehow they produced enough people to populate the Earth, without incest, which is a big no-no! Then some prophet or other is said to have made the Earth stop turning, an army blew horns until a wall fell down, a guy named Moses made the Red Sea divide in two, and made frogs fall out of the sky. A noted critic has described Christianity's beliefs as less believable and less fun than The Wizard of Oz.

Do you think it is an encyclopedic description suitable for inclusion in our main article on Christianity? ;-) Jayen466 23:17, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Here is a scholarly source discussing the site: [18] Would make a good source here, if we decide to keep this in the main article, and is certainly useful for the Trementina Base article, where it isn't cited at present. Jayen466 11:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Editable working draft at User:John Carter/Scientology

I've seen in other cases where, when an article is locked from editing, individuals have created pages elsewhere which interested parties could edit to add material, experiment on phrasing, etc., and maybe achieving an agreement to a new version a bit quicker that way. I have now created a new page at User:John Carter/Scientology where anyone interested can do that.

I've recently myself tried to find a number of sources on the subject of Scientology in general and various people and subjects related to it. There are a lot of such sources, actually, although most of mine are from magazines and the like. I know J. Gordon Melton has written several books which devoted at least chapters to Scientology, and I'm fairly sure that the books he wrote would qualify as reputable secondary sources. I'm going to try to get some of them myself in the next few weeks, but unfortunately can't be anymore specific than that right now. John Carter (talk) 16:38, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks John. Earlier on, some editors put together a list of scholarly sources they thought worthwhile. I'll repeat it here:
Derek Davis New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America, Baylor University Press, 2004 ISBN 978-0918954923

Scientology: Dispute of "religion" status

I have a bone to pick with this section and that is that is actually mangling two issues that are separate issues together. “Scientology as a religion” is strictly an academic issue; whereas the “Scientology as a state recognized religion” is strictly a legal issue. Different countries have different laws and different levels of religious recognition. Like in Germany, state recognized religions can get federal funds. Mangling these two sections together is just deceptive because it hides the individual legal issues that minority religions like the Mormons and Jehovah witnesses face in these European countries. These two issues should be separate. Bravehartbear (talk) 15:17, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

In addition to government sponsored criticism of minority religions there are also several organizations supported by the mainline Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and Roman Catholic Church both of which, although not State churches, have a special relationship with the State and received funds from the Government levied Church tax plus other monies "regulated by" historic "concordats and agreements." Cf. Arno Kappler and Adriane Grevel, eds., Facts About Germany, Frankfurt -am-Main, Societäts-Verlag, 1995, pp. 382. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN GERMANY: MIRAGE OR REALITY? by Irving Hexham

The two issues pointed out by Bravehartbear are factually two aspects of a single issue. Any person can make up a doctrine and call it a religion. However, to get government recognition, the practice of that doctrine has to meet certain requirements. In Germany, scientology is treated as a business, even though the corporation claims to be a religion. In Israel, scientology is also treated as a business, despite claims of being a religion. What is a religion is in the eyes of the beholder. What is a religion for legal purposes is a political matter.--Fahrenheit451 (talk) 00:40, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree that Bravehartbear has pointed at two aspects of a single issue. Politics can not regulate thought and rarely prevent academia from publishing. But, as Fahrenheit451 points out, religion is in the eyes (or mind) of the beholder. Therefore laws created by politics do not regulate religion. For example, laws do not say, "thou shall not think alien thoughts". Instead laws regulate religious organisation. Germany is especially careful. Jonhathon (talk) 03:54, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

It is not clear what is meant by "government recognition". In countries where there is freedom of religion (e.g. the United States), the government is not in the business of "recognizing" a religion as valid or invalid. In the U.S., there is the matter of tax-exempt status for a nonprofit organization for religious purposes, but this does not convey any claim by the government that the religion is authentic ... or even particularly organized! (See, for instance, some of the cases involving the Universal Life Church.)
It seems to me as if some religious groups, possibly including Scientology, trump up their U.S. tax-exempt nonprofit status (or comparable status in other countries) as if it were proof of their bona fides or social standing. But it is not the purpose of U.S. tax-exempt nonprofit status to recognize exemplars of good faith, but rather merely to exclude egregious tax frauds. Simply being recognized by the government as "not a total cheat" is not a very high acclamation. --FOo (talk) 06:38, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with your observation, FOo. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits any governmental entity in the United States from determining what is or is not a religion. And yes, I am aware of corporate scientology using the 501(c)3 status they obtained during the Clinton Administration as a credential that the cofs is "recognized" as a religion in the U.S. That is misrepresentation. --Fahrenheit451 (talk) 23:37, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Would the brennan affidavit be usefull here? I mean it is a secondary source since it is cited in a press conference in hamburg. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_NKvGOCp9s Would that not make it a secondary source and thus proof positive that the churches religious status is trumped up and false? Aaron Bongart (talk) 17:55, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
A press conference is not usually a reliable source, and the affidavit itself is a primary source. Let's stick to reliable secondary sources. If a news organization vets and confirms the Brennan affidavit in a news story, that news story itself is a reliable source, and should be used. I strongly encourage everyone to read WP:RS and WP:OR. We want to use the former and avoid the latter. --GoodDamon 22:08, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Sample of bona fide sources demonstrating, or referring to, official US recognition of Scientology as a religion

  • Here is how the New York Times commented on the 1993 tax exemption:
  • I think the NY Times writer clearly expresses the view here that the US abandoned their earlier view of Scientology as a business, as still espoused today by Germany.
  • Note that the State Department Report referred to in the NY Times article is the "Religious Freedom Report." The Religious Freedom Reports for Germany have discussed discrimination against Scientologists by the German state almost every year since the IRS decision, referring in 2006 for example to "certain religious minorities, notably Scientologists".
  • Media references to the "Scientology religion" (and similar references to Scientology as a religion) are common.

Such sources cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand as Scientologist "misrepresentation". Jayen466 23:16, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/media/time-1991-05-06.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mommymooo (talkcontribs) 06:42, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, that is in the article already. It is nearly 20 years old and changes nothing about what the above sources, including the IRS and US State Dept., have said in the years since then. Jayen466 17:37, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Non-reliable Sources and "A Piece of the Blue Sky"

I think that we have agreed that from now on we are only going to use reliable secundary sources. Just the same way many primary sources from the CoS have been removed; links to non-reliable secundary souces like Learnet and others should be prontly deleted. This should be the first step to renew the page.

Also links to anti-scientology books that have been written by non-reliable sources should be deleted. I just looked up A Piece of Blue Sky writer Jon Atack and the man is neither a journalist nor a schoolar. In fact his wikipage decribes him as:

Jonathan Caven-Atack (born 5 June, 1955) known as Jon Atack, is a British artist, published author and widely recognized as one of the most outspoken critics of the Church of Scientology.

I don't see how can a book written by one of the most outspoken critics of the Church of Scientology is a reliable secundary source. Bravehartbear (talk) 12:35, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, but to the extent that Atack's book has been quoted in reliable sources, we should be free to quote those sources quoting Atack. Jayen466 13:32, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
This goes both ways. Same goes for reliable sources that quote CoS primary sources. Bravehartbear (talk) 14:49, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Sure. Jayen466 16:55, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Jon Atack is also a scholar, and the book is definitely a scholarly resource. This seems to come up now and again, so let's be clear: When a scholarly book is referenced and used by the scholar's peers, including Stephen A. Kent, we can use that book as well. Cites to forums on Clambake and to Scientology websites do not equate at all. --GoodDamon 16:27, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Eugene V. Gallagher describes the book as an "autobiography and bitter indictment from a former member".
It's an "insider account", GoodDamon, and that's the very definition of a primary source, which we agreed we'd try to do without in this very contentious series of articles. As Bravehartbear points out, scholars also use Scientology publications as references; this does not make them scholarly sources. It is secondary sources that should establish due weight to be given to primary sources and the issues covered in them, not Wikipedia editors. Jayen466 16:55, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Well said, is time to get away from double standards. Bravehartbear (talk) 02:45, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Insider accounts aren't always primary sources, but this merits deeper examination than I initially thought. I'm going to take a look at the book and at other scholars who reference it. If it's generally held in high regard, then I don't think there's a valid argument for removing it simply because it was written by a former member. --GoodDamon 04:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Please read the definitions of a primary source as given in WP:PSTS. Including the footnotes. For reference, WP:PSTS states,

The key point about a primary source is that it offers an insider's guide to an event, a period of history, a work of art, a political decision, and so on.

The footnotes appended to this state,

"Definitions of primary sources:

* The University of Nevada, Reno Libraries define primary sources as providing "an inside view of a particular event". They offer as examples: original documents, such as autobiographies, diaries, e-mail, interviews, letters, minutes, news film footage, official records, photographs, raw research data, and speeches; creative works, such as art, drama, films, music, novels, poetry; and relics or artifacts, such as buildings, clothing, DNA, furniture, jewelry, pottery.

* The University of California, Berkeley library offers this definition: "Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied, or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (as in the case of memoirs) and they reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer."

There is no reason why Wikipedia should reference this primary source more or less than the existing secondary literature. Do you think otherwise? If yes, why? One thing we all agreed on was that we need to move away from mining primary sources, towards reflecting significant views in proportion to their published prominence among the most reliable sources. Jayen466 08:45, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. The text of PSTS has changed since I last read it. Oh well, that happens. I must say, I have concerns about the current version essentially negating the use of scholarly material by anyone actually involved in a given topic, but that's not an argument for this page. By the current standards, you are absolutely right, and A Piece of Blue Sky needs to go. --GoodDamon 14:53, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Minor grammar change

Can a sysop amend the Recognition in other countries section to say continued instead of continues for the german government ruling? Geoff Plourde (talk) 07:27, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Edit request

Can someone with editing power please add {{Cults}} to the bottom of the page. Regardless of whether or not this actually counts as a cult, someone reading this article would be just as likely to want to read other cult articles as they would other religion articles, so from a usefulness standpoint the article should include both. Furthermore, since the definition of the group is in dispute, the page should either have both the cult nav-template and the religion nav-template or it should have neither. --74.12.151.53 (talk) 17:17, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

No, if someone wants to read about cults, they need only go to our article on cult and they will find all the further links they need there. --Justallofthem (talk) 17:36, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. This would be a disruptive -- and frankly POV-pushing -- edit. There isn't a consensus on Wikipedia to categorize Scientology as a cult, and we don't categorize articles based on what else we guess readers might want to read. Before this edit could be done, there would have to be such a consensus. There's already a wikilink to cult in the lead, and I see no need to further emphasize it. --GoodDamon 18:43, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
It's also POV to have the religion nav-template. We either should have both or neither. --74.12.151.53 (talk) 02:29, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't have any special feelings about scientology to be honest, but I do agree that to put one template but not the other is definitely POV. Scientology is regarded as a religion in some places, as a cult in others, and to acknowledge one definition but not the other is selective and certainly not truthful. So without discrimination towards anyone, I believe that the religion template must either be removed or be joined by the cult one. Sky83 (talk) 17:05, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

OR?

The following paragraph seems to be substantially OR; to the extent that it isn't, it duplicates material already presented earlier:

In the early Scientology publication, The Creation of Human Ability: A Handbook for Scientologists, Hubbard says that "It [Scientology] is not a psycho-therapy nor a religion." Since its initial publication, however, the text has been altered to remove this statement.[citation needed] The Church of Scientology now pursues an extensive public relations campaign for the recognition of Scientology as a religion. An argument often used by the church is that all doubts of whether Scientology is a religion were put to rest when it was given tax exemption in the United States. The IRS is quoted as saying that "[Scientology is] operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes."[11][12] However, it is important to note the circumstances under which the tax-exempt agreement was made; it was reported by the New York Times that multiple intimidation tactics were used in an attempt to influence the IRS into granting tax exemption. Tactics used included hiring private investigators to look into the private lives of IRS officials, as well as funding a whistle-blower organization to gather incriminating information against the IRS.[13]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^
  6. ^ Fastest growing religion?
  7. ^ Lorne L. Dawson
  8. ^ Misunderstanding Cults
  9. ^ | CNN: Group that once criticized Scientologists now owned by one
  10. ^ | The NY times / Scientology's Puzzling Journey From Tax Rebel to Tax Exempt
  11. ^ "Recognition was based upon voluminous information provided by the Church regarding its financial and other operations to the Internal Revenue Service." IRS press release Dec. 31, 1997 Church of Scientology & IRS Confidentiality. Retrieved Aug 13th 2007
  12. ^ Dahl, David (1993-10-24). "IRS examined Scientology dollars, not dogma". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-08-31.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  13. ^ Cite error: The named reference NY Times tax exempt status was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Any objection to losing it? Jayen466 19:14, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure how you can possibly conclude that is OR. It's all properly sourced, and doesn't engage in synthesis. I see a problem with the "...important to note..." portion -- that's pure opinion -- but the rest of it is simply statements of fact sourced appropriately. The one statement that is missing a citation could easily be provided with one, and the sentence with the opinion in it can be shortened to exclude the opinion. --GoodDamon 03:45, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
On closer inspection, there are other portions that need to be fixed to remove opinions as well, but the statements of fact are properly supported. It's a paragraph that needs editing, not deletion. --GoodDamon 03:50, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's look at it in detail. First, we have yet another primary source quote, unsupported by any reliable, published secondary source preoccupying itself with this passage in this publication. It is original research, pure and simple. Next, we have an unsupported assertion that the primary source has been altered, with "citation needed". (The Rothstein source linked above mentions alterations of source texts, but not in this context.) There follow two uncited sentences, continuing the OR argument. The penultimate sentence is blatant OR, pr "It is important to note". Important in whose eyes? The Wikipedia editor's. Show me reliable sources that make the argument made by this paragraph, and then we can perhaps agree to present it, with attribution, in proportion to its prominence among the most reliable sources. Remember, we are supposed to summarise the most reliable published sources, not the OR content of xenu.net forum posts. At present, there is no evidence that the most reliable published sources make this a focus of concern. To demonstrate that you are not presenting original research, you must cite reliable sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and that directly support the information as it is presented. Cheers, Jayen466 09:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
The first sentence is a direct quote of the type that is allowed from primary sources. The second sentence was initially sourced to different editions of The Creation of Human Ability because it is easy to compare two editions and see the differences, which means it is easily verifiable. However, I would be surprised if a reliable secondary source didn't exist for that somewhere, since the point at which Scientology became a religion is a matter of much journalistic debate. Why not try to find a source for it rather than delete it? Should take two seconds with a news search engine. As for the next two sentences which you say lack citations, not every sentence in a paragraph requires a citation. A single citation to any one of the many news articles covering the Church of Scientology's public relations campaigns will suffice for both of those sentences, although they should be rewritten for NPOV and prose quality. The next sentence I have already agreed with you on; the "important to note" section of it ought to be removed. The other half of the sentence is fine, however. It's a statement of fact cited to the New York Times (again, not every sentence requires a cite, and that NYT piece covers both the preceding sentences). I know it's more work, but it's better to fix paragraphs that have issues but are otherwise usable, rather than simply throw them out. --GoodDamon 15:27, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Why is this anything else than double standards, GD? What I hear you saying sounds like this: "We can quote Hubbard's primary sources when it suits us, and develop arguments from his writings, based on our own evaluation, but Scientologists mustn't quote Hubbard when it suits them." Apart from the obvious lack of fairmindedness, this whole effort misses the point of what we are supposed to do here. We are supposed to reflect arguments made by others in reliable sources. Secondary sources on this topic look like this, for example: [22]. Do you have a problem trusting the existing sources, and think we have to do better than them? I repeat, there is no secondary source given here that directly supports the information as it is presented, and WP:OR clearly places the onus of providing such sources on those wishing to include the material. I suggest you or others bring these sources, or accept that this is indefensible OR. Jayen466 16:20, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
It's not a double standard. I would hope the majority of the citations in this article go to quality secondary sources. There are select -- and rare -- circumstances, such as non-controversial direct quotes, where a primary source may suffice. If you don't think the first sentence's citation qualifies for such an exception, that's fine. Personally, I'm open to arguments from both sides on the matter, but it's a relatively small component of the paragraph in question, and I'm by no means attached to it. As for the rest, which of them isn't a secondary source? The New York Times? The St. Petersburg Times? There's bad prose in there, but it's not OR. The text is supported by those sources -- and could even be expanded upon, based on those sources. Frankly, this fact is unavoidable: There is controversy about the tax status of the Church of Scientology, and this has been frequently reported on in the press. This paragraph concerns that. It should be rewritten and better sourced, but it should not be deleted. --GoodDamon 18:58, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, I don't think the first sentence qualifies as a "non-controversial direct quote", since the matter clearly is controversial, as you point out yourself. In addition, according to our article on the Church of Scientology, the first Church of Scientology was incorporated in 1953, using that name, a "Church", so clearly there was some awareness of a religious dimension to Scientology by the time the referenced book appeared in 1954, saying, so we say, Scientology was "not a religion". And do we give the context of that statement? No. The whole argument laid out by us here is misleading. The original context in Hubbard's book was,

"Society, thirsting for more control of more people substitutes religion for the spirit, the body for the soul, an identity for the individual and science and data for truth. In this direction lies insanity, increasing slavery, less knowingness, greater scarcity and less society. Scientology has opened the gates to a better World. It is not a psycho-therapy nor a religion. It is a body of knowledge which, when properly used, gives freedom and truth to the individual."

The way I read it, Hubbard critiques conventional religion, and is anxious to assert that Scientology is not one of those, while at the same time presenting Scientology as a personal path to freedom and truth. These are religious goals, are they not? All of this reminds me of Marx's "opium for the people" statement which is similarly quoted out of context. Marx actually said,

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.

This was at a time when opium was widely used for pain relief. But back to Hubbard. Googling for this, it is quite clear what sort of source the inclusion of this came from: [23] Anything in google books? No, thought so. Anything in google scholar? No, thought so. Anything in google news? No, thought so. As for the rest of the paragraph, much of it duplicates material we already have, in the History section, and further up, in the same section. The point is, I shouldn't have to spend an hour surfing and two hours arguing to demonstrate that this is poorly sourced. Editors should please just use reliable published secondary sources to begin with. Jayen466 19:49, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't see that you had responded here until now. When I said "non-controversial direct quote" I was referring to the lack of controversy concerning whether a given statement was made or not. There is no controversy around this quote because no one disputes that Hubbard wrote it. Now, your interpretation of the full quote is an interesting one, but is also entirely your own interpretation. It would be better to simply have the full text of the quote in the article and leave interpretation up to the reader. But again, I have no problem with excising it completely. As for the rest of the paragraph, again, what poor sources are you talking about? It is sourced to the New York Times and the St. Petersburg Times. You accurately point out that it touches on issues explored in another section, although it is not redundant with that section because it goes into different details. So I wouldn't be opposed to incorporating the material from this paragraph into the other section to expand it, but I am definitely opposed to deleting it based on the notion that the entire paragraph is poorly sourced, when it demonstrably isn't. --GoodDamon 18:18, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
My point is that the paragraph synthesises an argument that is not present in this form in any of its sources. This argument goes like this: "Scientology is not a religion. It used to be quite open about the fact that it wasn't one. But then, for reasons of expediency, they decided to cloak themselves as a religion. They covered their tracks, changing texts where they stated they weren't a religion. Then they got themselves recognised as a religion. How did they do that, given that they clearly aren't one? Well, they used threats and dirty tricks against employees of the agency that makes those sorts of decision. In this way, the forced the hand of the United States, the mightiest nation on earth, to recognise them as a religion."
Given that the primary-source quote is only used to support this argument in unreliable sources, we shouldn't make use of it, and at any rate, I note that you are agreeable to excising it altogether, so let's do that. The NY Times article deserves a mention somewhere, but even that turned out to be based on a false premise, as discussed above. And it is already mentioned, and given undue weight, in the History section. We do not need to rehash it here. As for the rest – not that there is much left – let's look at where it could best go. Cheers, Jayen466 19:26, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Unless there are further concerns, I'll raise an editprotected request to delete this paragraph. Jayen466 16:35, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

OT9

The following sentence is inappropriately sourced: "Church management has promised to release a ninth OT level once certain expansion goals are met.[110]" I suggest we remove it. Any views? Jayen466 17:52, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

The cite is a bad one, and definitely needs to go. However, the Church has made that promise, so I would be interested in finding an alternate cite before deciding to remove it. --GoodDamon 03:49, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's agree on a time frame then. How many days would you like to have to find a reliable secondary source? Jayen466 08:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
As the page is locked, at the moment, that's an academic question. But once the page is unlocked, I would say give it three days with a {{cn}} tag, and if no one has turned up a citation from a good secondary source, either delete it or discuss whether or not it's appropriate to cite a primary source for it. --GoodDamon 14:57, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
We've had edits done by admins before; John Carter, who's been contributing to this talk page is an admin; so I am confident, once we have agreement on the talk page, we can have edits done quite quickly. Jayen466 15:05, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Well, there is a source here: [24]. I suggest we reword and resource the sentence as follows: "It has been rumored that additional OT levels, said to be based on material written by Hubbard long ago, will be released at some appropriate point in the future.[1]
  • Okay? Jayen466 17:17, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ Lewis, James R.; Hammer, Olav (2007). The Invention of Sacred Tradition, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521864798, p. 36.
The sentence is a little wordy, but I can't think of an alternative at the moment, so I'm going to support that change. --GoodDamon 19:04, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

{{editprotected}}

Could a sysop please insert the following:

It has been rumored that additional OT levels, said to be based on material written by Hubbard long ago, will be released at some appropriate point in the future."<ref>Lewis, James R.; Hammer, Olav (2007). ''The Invention of Sacred Tradition'', Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521864798, p. 36.</ref>

to replace the sentence "Church management has promised to release a ninth OT level once certain expansion goals are met.[110]" in the section "Reincarnation and confidential materials". This is to improve the sourcing of this information, from a private website to a published scholarly work. Thanks. Jayen466 23:40, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Done, thanks for the detailed request. --Elonka 19:32, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

make protect notice less obtrusive

{{editprotected}} COuld an admin add the small atribute to the full protection notice to make it less obtrusive?--Ipatrol (talk) 23:48, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

done --SB_Johnny | talk 15:36, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Scientology: Beliefs and practices

{{editprotected}} In the section "Beliefs and practices" of the Scientology page, the second paragraph that reads in part: "Scientologists believe that people are composed of ... mind, spirit and body". The "citation needed" that appears there is: L. Ron Hubbard Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, pp 65-75, Bridge Publications Inc., 2007 ISBN 978-1403144195

(JDPhD (talk) 22:22, 25 December 2008 (UTC))

Please don't. We're trying to get away from using primary sources. I'm sure there's a good secondary source around for that. Although this does bring up an interesting point; the article on Christianity uses books of the Bible as sources for various statements concerning Christian beliefs. Would a suitable exception to WP:PRIMARY be to use primary sources specifically for citations on what Scientologists actually believe? If we're going to make an exception, that seems to be the most logical one. --GoodDamon 01:26, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Not done No consensus yet.  Sandstein  14:21, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
See Scientology_beliefs_and_practices#Spirit.2C_body_and_mind, which cites adequate sources. Our presentation here may need tweaking to reflect those sources. Jayen466 23:26, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Having checked the Primary Sources page, it would appear that such references are permissable: "a primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by a reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge. For example, an article about a novel may cite passages from the novel to describe the plot, but any interpretation of those passages needs a secondary source." While of course not drawing any comparison between the Scientology works of Hubbard and fiction, as is demonstrated by the example above, the reference to Hubbard's publication is acceptable. Claiming 'Scientologists believe the following' and then providing the original reference merely describes the belief and makes no interpretation of it, which is the function of secondary sources. One would need a secondary source to detail the ways in which Scientologists apply Hubbard's teachings: to record what those teachings are one may - provided it is clear, and not a matter for interpretation (i.e. 'What Hubbard meant by this is...') - use the primary source. BlackMarlin (talk) 17:16, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

2nd edit request

Can someone please remove the {{Religion topics}} template? It's POV of us to include this with the religions when that point is under dispute. This could justifiably use {{Religion topics}}, {{Cults}}, or {{Confidence Tricks}}, and if we aren't going to be the most useful and include all of them, we should do the NPOV thing and not include any. --70.53.95.73 (talk) 09:45, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

See [25]. The template is fine by me, unless someone can demonstrate that the quotes given at the linked talk section are somehow flukes. As far as I can tell, classification as a religion has been the mainstream view in the US for 15 years, the State Department e.g. regularly referring to Scientology as a religion in its Religious Freedom Reports. Jayen466 10:35, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Granted, Jayen, but since Wikipedia is an international resource a US definition is not universally applicable. The point made above, about the continuing dispute, remains valid, US State Department statements notwithstanding. The debate continues worldwide. BlackMarlin (talk) 17:24, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Error

{{editprotected}}

I think this page has been frozen by Administrator. due to me not seeing an "edit page" under the article, never the less under "dispute as a religion" it says "David G. Bromley of Virginia Commonwealth University characterizes Scientology as "a 'quasi-religious therapy' that resembles Freudian 'depth psychology' while also drawing upon Buddhism, Hinduism and the ancient, heretical offshoot of Christianity known as Gnosticism ". I find the suggestion that Gnosticisim is a "heretical" off shoot of Christianity misleading. the citation for the mentioned quotation would be accesable if it was not seemingly in a book (acessable to almost anyone knowing english and able to read the Quotation). Gnosticisim according to some sources apeared before Christianity [26], even if Gnosticisim came after Christianity with that same logic Protestants are herretical to the papacy and Christianity is herretical to Judaism. may I also add that Mandaeism a variation of gnosticism reveres John the baptist more than Jesus [27] [28]. Could somone change the error to "David G. Bromley of Virginia Commonwealth University characterizes Scientology as a 'quasi-religious therapy' that resembles Freudian 'depth psychology' while also drawing upon Buddhism, Hinduism and Gnosticism". Please some one with editing powers please fix this problem thanks. --Zaharous (talk) 01:49, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Done. --Elonka 19:35, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Was that a paraphrase or a quote? If it was a quote, it's now a misquote (though perhaps "[...]" could be added?). --SB_Johnny | talk 12:49, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I have no Idea, the reference looked like it was in a book, Its seems inacessable to those who lack it, nevertheless if it was a direct quote it might be misleading. I don't know if the "heretical offshoot of Christianity" part was injected by the writer to help readers make sense of Gnosticism or if David G. Bromley actually said it. I think many Wikipedia Writers paraphrase in their own words and directly quote people, I think it is unknowable without further research. Either way I think it is now at least a paraphrase. --Zaharous (talk) 14:12, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Protection level reduced

In the hope that editors of this page can improve the article without edit warring, I have reduced the full protection to semi-protection, so that registered users may edit the article. Please make sure all edits to this controversial article have consensus support. Please do not use "lack of consensus" as an excuse to edit war. Be calm, cool and courteous. Happy editing,--Aervanath talks like a mover, but not a shaker 17:24, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Restored possible good-faith complaint about undue weight by IP

Guys can we please take the thing out of how thetans are brainwashed you should include it but why make it the firts thing you see. if this keeps going on im going to edit the christianity article to include the guy in a whale and talking snake in the first paragaugh. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.108.230.105 (talk) 14:52, 10 January 2009

The story of Jonah and the whale and the story of the serpent in the garden do not factor largely in scholarly research and investigative journalism about Christianity, so placing them in the lead would be undue weight. In contrast, even the most positive of scholarly works on Scientology acknowledge the controversies surrounding what essentially amounts to a hidden creation myth, and almost all journalism on the subject makes some mention of it. Personally, I wish the media would devote some attention to other areas, because other areas interest me from an academic standpoint, but it's not up to me to decide which information to focus on. When the preponderance of sources regard something as important, it belongs in the lead. --GoodDamon 23:22, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the sentence "It is believed that thetans were brainwashed by these extraterrestrial cultures as a means of population control." is needlessly weird and opaque. In terms of media coverage, I think the confidentiality/copyright issue surrounding the Xenu materials is at least as notable as the actual content. Even so, I don't think this belongs in the second para of the lede, and it takes up too big a proportion of the summary of Scientology beliefs in the lede.
Also, while we're talking about the lede, the sentence "Time Magazine describes Scientology as "a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner."" is off. That Time article was published almost 20 years ago ... a lot can happen in 20 years, cf. the Anderson report and the Australian high court judgment 20 years later. All in all, the lede in its present state is truly hideous. Jayen466 23:52, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Certainly there are newer pieces that give more detailed analyses of Scientology's business practices, although do bear in mind that while old, the article reflects a similar sentiment to that which is expressed today by investigative journalists. In any event, I agree that the current lead is pretty ugly and could definitely stand a rewrite, as the prose is bad (and somewhat pointy). --GoodDamon 00:18, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Overall, the level of media criticism has clearly decreased since 1991. There are sources saying so. For example, there is an interesting analysis of more recent news coverage of Scientology in "Religion in the News", the newsletter of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut, here. The Chicago Sun-Times ran a story in 2005 entitled "'TomKat' casts spotlight back on Scientology – Criticism fades, but some still see it as a money-making cult" which was typical of a number of more recent articles. This Chicago Sun-Times article is online in a number of other places as well – but note that the version on rickross.com seems to miss the end bit, while religionnews.blog adds lots of floating boxes with their own information to the article. The article features comments from a couple of scholars (Bromley and Melton) and exemplifies how controversies can be covered neutrally. It also shows that in good reporting it is standard to quote both sides of a debate, something that we still fail to do in the last paragraph of our lede (which is otherwise much improved). Perhaps the CST article would be a useful source here; it certainly mentions that the Church rejects the cult label, it adds supporting opinion by outsiders, and quotes a church member saying that people go on about Xenu to make them look weird. All relevant points IMO. Jayen466 11:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Jayen466, may I ask what specifically bothers you about the last paragraph in the lead? Looking at it now, it appears we may have some WP:SYN problems. Spidern 13:39, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I think you're right, twice we have half a dozen refs to back up a synthesised statement (you've convinced me now). In addition, the presentation in that paragraph seems very one-sided to me. Let's look at it, and the para preceding it:

One controversial aspect of Scientology beliefs is the idea that thetans lived among extraterrestrial cultures before becoming trapped in bodies on Earth.[9] The belief of extraterrestrial origins is not taught to new members, but is only presented after members have advanced through the ranks of Scientology.[citation needed] Another controversial belief held among Scientologists is that psychiatry and psychology are destructive and abusive fields, which must be abolished.[10][11]

Former members, journalists, courts, and authorities in multiple countries have described Scientology as a cult [13][14][15][16][17][18] and an unscrupulous commercial enterprise. Critics claim that the organization has a history of harassing its critics and abusing the trust of its members.[16][18][19][20][17][21] In 1991, Time magazine described Scientology as "a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner."[16] Scientology has consistently litigated most actions which it has perceived to be threatening. One major litigation point is that of copyright infringement.[22][23]

Now let's compare that to the 2005 Chicago Sun-Times summary of roughly the same controversies:

The Los Angeles-based church has battled its critics for years with a series of expensive lawsuits, fighting to clear its name and keep its secret writings off the Internet. It also fought with the Internal Revenue Service for years to receive tax-exempt status. It won that battle, and its officials reject suggestions that it's more of a money-making venture than religion. "It remains one of the more controversial new religious movements, but I think all of the more controversial groups have decreased the tension with larger society over the last decade or two," said David G. Bromley, a Virginia Commonwealth University professor who has studied Scientology. "There are still a number of countries where it's not accepted as a religion, but it has been in the United States. I think the level of tension is certainly declining." [...]

Some of the fundamental beliefs of Scientologists are laid out in its publications: Man is an immortal spiritual being. His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime. His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized. The aims of Scientology, according to the church, are a world without insanity, without criminals, without war. It is a religion fiercely opposed to many other mental health practices, including psychiatry. On its Web site, the church refers to "other methods of alleged mental science" and says other practices "treat man as a 'thing' to be conditioned, not as a spiritual being who can improve enormously." Scientologists strictly oppose mind-altering drugs, including psychiatric drugs -- such as Paxil. Scientology believes people are basically good and, with Dianetics, offers tools to improve. But it goes beyond just self-help. It is a religion complete with churches, Sunday services and a detailed theology. "The idea is that at some point in the prehistoric past, the soul, which is the real us, the essence of what we are, falls into the body, falls into material existence," said Melton. "After a period of time, it moves from body to body, and it forgets who it is. So the object of the religion is to allow the soul to remember its true nature and then begin to function as a free soul." [...]

Controversy worldwide

For years, controversies dogged Scientology. In Germany, it's viewed not as a religion but as a money-making scheme. Scientologists have been banned from public service, even forced to remove their children from public schools. The French National Assembly in 2000 unanimously passed a bill to make it easier to crack down on what the government considered cults, including Scientology. And in 2001, President Bush disparaged it by saying: "I have a problem with the teachings of Scientology being viewed on the same par as Judaism or Christianity." The church rejects the cult label, and some experts in the United States agree. Said Virginia Commonwealth's Bromley: "Cult is a four-letter word for a religion you don't like." Another controversy surrounds stories being circulated about the purported secret beliefs of Scientologists, including claims their theology traces back to a space-age story about an evil galactic warlord named Xenu sending souls to Earth 75 million years ago. Ahmad, the local Scientology official, said those claims are "bogus" and "taken out of context" by opponents and critics of Scientology. Those claims also offend Scientologists, she said. "It's to make us look weird, and we're not," Ahmad said. The biggest strike against the church, some say, is its newness. "What is particularly true in America, when new things come along, if they are significantly different in any way, we as a culture test them out," Melton said. "Nobody is picketing Christian Science [anymore]. Nobody is calling them a cult."

In contrast to this tapestry of opinion, we are only presenting the critics' views. I feel we should not cite extremely harsh criticism without giving the Church some virtual "right of reply", as exemplified in the above, or indeed citing other notable, mainstream commentators who have taken a somewhat different view. In addition, we should be careful to reflect present-day published opinions in proportion to their prominence today, as per WP:RS, and be mindful of giving too much weight to outdated sources. Jayen466 14:31, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

      • Also, we should say "Critics say" rather than "Critics claim". We still have those 6 refs after the one sentence; one strong ref would be better. These are just some ideas off the top of my head; I'll come back to this later. Jayen466 15:42, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Possible improper source

In this edit, Bravehartbear adds a source hosted at neuereligion.de, mirrored at this domain which is owned by the Church of Scientology International. In the header, it describes the material as "A reference work presented by the Church of Scientology International." This may be considered as a primary source, as GoodDamon (talk · contribs) contended in earlier discussion. Spidern 13:37, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi! Here is a link from yahoo books to the book in question.[29]
  • Scientology: An Analysis and Comparison of Its Religious Systems and Doctrines
  • By Bryan R. Wilson, Emeritus Fellow Oxford University England
  • Published by Freedom Publishing, 1995
Just the same way that we have courtesy links to Steven Kent's studies hosted by xenu.net we can have courtesy links hosted by CoS related sites to reliable secundary sources. The sites Xenu.net and bonafidescientology.org are just hosting these schoolars and are not the source of these secundary sources. Bravehartbear (talk) 15:15, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
If it's a book, can you provide an ISBN? Can you provide the website of the publisher? There are several publishers by that name, and I haven't been able to find any record of the book on their websites. Spidern 15:46, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • This is an interesting question. According to this page, Wilson's paper is also included in "Theology & Practice of a Contemporary Religion Scientology", (Bridge Publications, 1998. ISBN 1-57318-145-5). (Bridge Publications being the Church's publishing house). The paper does not seem to have been widely cited; there is one cite here, and there is an interesting-looking paper here that mentions it. Beyond that, I can't find anything. It's not quite the same as a journal paper by Kent hosted on clambake.org – while the convenience link usually is a WP:LINKVIO and should go, the paper itself is still a good source if it's been previously published in a peer-reviewed journal. What we have in this case, though, is a world-leading scholar publishing a paper on Scientology through a Scientology publishing house. (A number of scholars wrote such essays for Scientology, by the way, as mentioned by Melton and the above paper by Schön.) The author's reputation speaks for the paper, the publisher against; the argument in favour of using the paper would be much stronger if it had also been independently published. Jayen466 18:59, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
    • I agree with your analysis. The biggest problem is that if the paper was originally published by Bridge Publications, there is no assurance that it went through any sort of peer-review, which is the quality assurance mechanism of academia. I'd be more inclined to include it if it had ever gone through independent publication, but I've seen nothing to indicate that it has. Spidern 19:55, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
      • Agreed. As a separate issue, it would be worth mentioning that various scholars have written these essays for Scientology and have, in some way, lent their names to Scientology's campaign. It's certainly a matter that has been the subject of discussion. Jayen466 20:39, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Dustin Hoffman, Goldie Hawn etc.

This was a notable event [30] that I think should be mentioned. Jayen466 17:22, 14 January 2009 (UTC) The aforementioned paper by Schön in the Marburg Journal of Religion covers this. Jayen466 19:54, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Here is a Time magazine article on the controversy: [31]. 6 years after "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", Scientology has transmogrified into a "legally recognized church" in Time magazine; the only ones calling it a "cult" in this article are the Germans, and they are given very little support indeed by the article's editorial voice. Jayen466 01:30, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

CAN

The section on the Cult Awareness Network, at the end of our history section, seems misplaced. It also has content issues, as discussed before: #More_Scientology_hystory. I'm thinking somewhere in the Controversies section ... suggestions? Jayen466 01:10, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Why exactly do you feel that it is misplaced? The section is arranged chronologically and represents notable events in the organization's history. The CAN happenings are an event, not a criticism. Spidern 13:24, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Because I feel it's more about CAN than about Scientology. The New CAN does refer callers to non-Scientologist experts, as per sources given previously. In addition, what made the Old CAN go bankrupt was the million-dollar judgment against it in the Jason Scott case, not the 50 lawsuits by Scientologists. Jayen466 20:31, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I've edited the bit about CAN, pls review. Jayen466 13:39, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
As stated in my edit summary, your edit did not match the source you cited (CNN):
  • (1) Does not explicitly say "Scientologist"
  • (2) Does not mention Jason Scott
  • (3) States that the bankruptcy resulted from the $2 million lawsuit
I have tweaked it to match the source. Any objections? Spidern 14:25, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have attributed the first sentence to "Scientology's revenge" as well, cited after the second sentence. You can find that article online, and I believe you'll find it covers the remainder of the first sentence's content that is not covered by the CNN article. The CNN figure of "nearly 2 million" is at odds with other sources, which are generally agreed that it was one million in punitive damages plus a minor proportion of the $875,000 of compensatory damages awarded. See [32] and the other pages of the court judgment available via the hyperlinks on this page. Also see Snow, for example, quoting the figure as 1.08 million (not 1.8 million as reported initially by some papers), and this, quoting 1.1 million. I didn't have time right now to look it all up, so I just said "million-dollar" to give an idea of the magnitude rather than quoting the precise CNN figure which I knew to be contradicted elsewhere. The thing with Scott was, he was a Pentecostalist; only his lawyer filing the suit on his behalf was a Scientologist. Cheers, Jayen466 15:15, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems that cesnur.org is down at the moment. I will make some revisions after reviewing your links. Spidern 15:25, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Time magazine quote

Bravehartbear claimed (erroneously) that we had come to an agreement on the inclusion of this sourced quote. Jayen466 improved the quote by specifying the time that it was reported. What are the opinions here about inclusion, and should it be in the lead? Let's try to reach an definite consensus here. Spidern 13:23, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

It should not be in the lede; it's too old. The Time article should be mentioned though, either in the history timeline or the Controversies section. Jayen466 20:26, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Hi there! Look at this from WP:RS: ""Opinion pieces are only reliable for statements as to the opinion of their authors, not for statements of fact, and should be attributed in-text."" [34]
The quote in question is not a fact but far from that, it is just an opinion not only an opinion but a very undue one. Any journalist can say that Bush or Clinton were bad presidents but these are only opinions not facts, facts are "WHO, WHAT, WHERE", so if a journalist says Bush or Clinton were bad presidents that's just an opinion but if it says "so many jobs were lost during this presidents time", that's a fact. This quote should only be used to express to opinion of the author. As Jayen mentioned bellow this is not even the current opinion of Times. So this quote should only be used to express the opinion of the author Richard Behar during a specific period of time. The name of the author and the date should be clearly stated. The location should be in the controversy section or in history if we want to cover the conflict of Times vs CoS. Bravehartbear (talk) 14:16, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Bravehartbear, I believe we are all quite aware of the fact that the time's assessment is an opinon; however, as described in NPOV, we must adequately cover all significant viewpoints (opinions) on a subject provided we do so in a way that presents it as an opinion. Time magazine is a widely read publication and its opinion (which is shared by numerous other news sources) is significant. Opinions are not to be banished from the lead (or any other section) only to be confined to controversy. The only trouble is coming to an agreement on what is significant and who's opinion to voice in that space. If we have stated something to the effect of "The Church opines that its teachings are harmless and useful", we should also be able to express what the widespread media thinks about it. Spidern 14:32, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
We do have something very much like that Time magazine statement in the lede now, reflecting the significance of this viewpoint (i.e. "critics have referred to it as a cult that financially defrauds its members.[16][17][18] Critics further state that the organization has a history of harassing its critics and abusing the trust of its members.") Jayen466 14:38, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
True, but "critics" is a very broad spectrum. Time magazine is a more tangible, and a very notable, widely-read publication. The magazine is referred to as "one of the most widely read and influential publications in the U.S. The Time publishing empire includes 30 magazines and a 25 million circulation worldwide."([35]) Furthermore, for this article, Richard Behar recieved the Gerald Loeb Award for recognition of excellence in journalism, the Worth Bingham Prize for "newspaper or magazine investigative reporting of stories of national significance where the public interest is being ill-served.", the Conscience-in-Media Award for "those who have demonstrated singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost or sacrifice," and the Leo J. Ryan Award. Behar was recognized as one of the 100 best business journalists of the 20th century by the TJFR business journalism trade group. The magazine has never retracted the article or any statements from it. If all that doesn't make it significant, I don't know what does. Spidern 15:03, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
It is significant, but not so significant as to belong in the lead: especially since the viewpoint it expresses is represented there already. To have this viewpoint in the lede and then to repeat it in almost the same words again in the lede, using a verbatim quote from Time, is overkill; the lede is supposed to be a summary. I have no objection to the quote appearing in the main body of the article, and would be sympathetic to an effort to make clearer in the lede just how broad the spectrum of critics has been. Jayen466 16:22, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
The quote is only significant because it is soo extremely undue. It covers an extreme viewpoint and should be carefully used if used at all. WP:UNDUE: "Just as giving undue weight to a viewpoint is not neutral, so is giving undue weight to other verifiable and sourced statements. An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject..." The lead is no place for such a undue statement, this clearly should be somewhere in the body if at all. Bravehartbear (talk) 22:28, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Let us know when you find sources that refer to it as extreme viewpoint. Meanwhile, it has won top awards for journalism, so I find that dubious. AndroidCat (talk) 02:57, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Sure! What about this one? "The Time article was way over the top. Even Saddan Hussein was portrayed less badly" [36] Come on, the Time article is an extreme point of view that should be handled like such. Let me repeat WP:UNDUE: "Just as giving undue weight to a viewpoint is not neutral, so is giving undue weight to other verifiable and sourced statements. An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject..." Bravehartbear (talk) 10:54, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Celebrities section

I think we agreed previously at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Scientology&oldid=261247925#WP:UNDUE.2C_WP:RS_issues_in_Celebrities_section that the Celebrities section has multiple issues. I propose we delete most of the section, retaining only the following:

Scientology has attracted several artists and entertainers, particularly Hollywood celebrities. Hubbard saw to the formation of a special church which would cater to artists, politicians, leaders of industry, sports figures and anyone with the power and vision "to create a better world."[176] There are eight so-called Celebrity Centres, although Hollywood is the largest. Entertainers — including John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Lisa Marie Presley, Jason Lee, Isaac Hayes, Tom Cruise, and Katie Holmes — have generated considerable publicity for Scientology.

Any views? Jayen466 10:43, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm not particularly fond of the "a special church" phrasing, as it is rather ambiguous. Maybe changing it to "special locations created to deal with the special concerns of artists, ..." or something similar might work better? John Carter (talk) 16:31, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
    • You're right, it sounds a bit naff. We'd probably also better look for a book rather than a Scientology website to source this para. Jayen466 11:39, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

New proposed wording, now based on a scholarly source (Neusner):

Scientology operates a number of churches that are designated "Celebrity Centers".[1] These centers are specifically designed to minister to the large number of celebrity Scientologists,[1] who include Hollywood actors and entertainers such as John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Jason Lee, Anne Archer, Lisa Marie Presley, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Any views? Jayen466 17:34, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Any objections to implementing this change? Jayen466 10:05, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

{{editsemiprotected}} There having been previous agreement among several editors that the section is unsatisfactory, and no objections to this proposal since then, please implement. Jayen466 20:23, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Changed to {{editsemiprotected}}—{{Editprotected}} is for fully-protected pages only. Pagrashtak 15:58, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Looks like article has already been changed. And since this article isn't fully protected currently, any established user can make the change (like the requestee).-Andrew c [talk] 21:28, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ a b Neusner, Jacob (2003). World Religions in America. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 233. ISBN 0-664-22475-X.